Augustine Fong - There's so much I can say about my experiences with Sifu Fong. From him I learned about life, medicine, martial arts, spirituality and so much more. I commonly spent 10 hours or more a week studying Tai Chi and Qi Gung at the Fong's school, that didn't include the numerous hours (6 - 8 hrs a day) I trained and practiced outside of the school. Sifu Fong taught me Chinese medicine, Tai Chi, Qi Gung, Lion Dance and Siu Lum Gung Fu. I have countless memories with him, his wife and fellow students that I will cherish as long as I live. Sifu Fong is very generous and I'm only one of many students he personally taught, some of his oldest students are still training at his school today. I made an early oath when I began learning from him, to not take photos of him or with him out of respect. I possess only one picture that I had personally taken of him and that was when he and a number of other masters lined up for a photo for Inside Kung Fu Magazine. All other photos I have of him were taken by someone else. The photo next to this paragraph is one of only a few photos I have with myself and Sifu Fong in the same picture. I'm in the lion head with my foot touching the drum as Sifu plays for a lion dance that we were performing. More info>
Sifu Fong, Ho Kam Ming & Yip (Ip) Man - In this picture you can see Sifu Fong to the far upper left at around 15 years old, Ho Kam Ming in the center and Sifu Yip (Ip) Man to Ho Kam Ming's left side (taken of Ho Kam Ming's Wing Chun students while Yip Man visited). Sifu Ho was one of Yip (Ip) Man's top students. Yip (Ip) Man was Bruce Lee's Sifu in Wing Chun. I saw Ho Kam Ming in person during a seminar the Fongs were holding at a local hotel, near their school in Tucson. Although I wasn't studying Wing Chun, the Fongs invited me to the Seminar. Ho Kam Ming was in his late 60's at that time. Sifu Fong translated for Ho Kam Ming. It was a very enlightening Seminar about the inner workings of Wing Chun and I am so grateful that the Fongs allowed me to attend such a priceless event.
Pat Chan and Ben Lo - Although Sifu Pat Chan is not well known I felt it was only right to include him along with his Sifu Ben Lo (shown in the picture). Sifu Pat Chan is Sifu Augustine Fong's brother in-law and originally was a student of Sifu Fong in the Wing Chun Style. He decided to move to San Francisco to study Tai Chi under Sifu Ben Lo (one of Cheng Man Ching's Students). He then passed on his Tai Chi to Sifu Fong. This is the Tai Chi that I now pass on to my students. I got to meet Pat Chan one weekend at a competition in San Francisco. We spent 2 days with him along with the Fongs. After we all went out to eat late that Saturday night, myself and 3 other students were invited to the hotel room where the Fong's were staying to push hands with Sifu Pat Chan. After each of us pushed hands with Sifu Chan we got to watch Sifu Fong and his brother in-law push hands. A once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Click for more info>
Lily Lau - My brother and I traveled up to Northern California to attend a competition organized by Lily Lau (daughter of Lau Fat Man, the famous Eagle Claw Master). We were to meet up with my Sifu at the time, Sifu Augustine Fong. We figured out how to get to the location of the competition but we didn't know where the hotel was located.
As we entered the competition area we looked for someone to try and help us find out where the hotel was. We were directed to a student who was involved with getting the arena organized for the next 2 days of competitions. He was very polite and took us over to meet his teacher, Sifu Lily Lau. Although they were very busy trying to get the arena ready, she was very kind and took the time with me to get me the directions I needed so we could get to the hotel (a half hour away) safely.
Since then I've been lucky enough to have personally witnessed Lily Lau, perform a handful of times. Her performances were short and sweet, not fancy or flashy. This to me is much more impressive because her demonstrations were powerful but humble at the same time.
Henry Poo Yee and Hawkins Cheung - We arrived at the hotel we were going to be staying at for the weekend of competitions, as I entered the hotel lobby I saw my Simo off to one corner of the room. I went over to introduce my brother to Simo and Sifu Fong as I noticed Sifu Henry Poo Yee (Southern Praying Mantis Master) and Sifu Hawkins Cheung sitting across from Sifu Fong. They were playfully joking around and laughing.
I humbly introduced my brother. "This is Sifu Fong and this is my Simo, her name is Gim", I stated to my brother. Sifu Yee didn't hear me refer to my Simo as "Simo" (her proper title). He suddenly spoke up and proceeded to inform me, "If that is your Sifu, then that, is your Simo". I didn't say anything as it was his right to say what he wanted. I realized he was trying to uphold one of the most important traditions, which was much more important than the fact that he didn't understand that I had referred to Simo properly he just didn't hear me.
Sifu Yee's Praying Mantis is some of the best I've seen. He is highly respected as one of the best at what he does. Watching such highly respected martial art Masters joking around was as much, if not more fun than all the demos and competitions.
Doc Fai Wong - As I sat with Simo and Sifu Fong in the bleachers watching the Masters demos (some of the very best from around the world), I got to witness master after master come over to the Fongs to say "Hi". Some were quick about it, others sat for a while and chatted. At one point Sifu Doc Fai Wong came over and sat next to me and proceeded to carry on a conversation with Sifu Fong.
Just a few months after that competition Sifu Wong came out to Arizona to put on a seminar not far from the Fong's school, where he was teaching the 18 Lohan Form. My older Tai Chi sister at the time (Carina) attended the seminar and then eventually taught the form to me. While he was in town he stopped over at the Fong's. Sifu Fong asked him if he would pass on his version of the Yang style Tai chi broadsword form. About a week later I learn the form from Sifu Fong.
Chiu Chi Ling - One evening while I was teaching a Tai Chi Class at Sifu Fong's (at that time Sifu Fong was having me teach most of the Tai Chi Classes). I suddenly heard the front door open and in came a Chinese man. He began to yell through the school, "Fong Sifu, Fong Sifu". I turned to look and realized it was Master Chiu Chi Ling. He then proceeded to walk straight though our Tai Chi Class continuing to yell to Sifu Fong until he made his way back to were Sifu was. Chiu Chi Ling is a famous Hung Gar Master and has been featured in numerous Kung Fu movies. In America he is most recognized as the tailor in the movie Kung Fu Hustle. He was stopping by to make arrangements to go to dinner with the Fongs as he had been in town putting on a seminar on Hung Kuen. Later I found out that Sifu Mike Francis (my older Gung Fu brother who taught me Hung Gar) attended the seminar that same weekend.
Mimi Chan and Her Father Chan Poi - I had the pleasure of meeting Mimi Chan (Mimi was the model for the creation of Disney's Mulan) while I was attending a competition in San Francisco. When I went to check in she was handling some of the sign up duties at the sign in desk. She was very polite and patient while she helped me to get my paperwork straight for the competition.
Although I've never had the pleasure to be formally introduced to Sifu Chan Poi, I have had the pleasure of personally witnessing Mimi and her father perform demos at a couple of the competitions I've attended. Their Northern Mantis is spectacular to watch, definitely the best of the best. What Chan Poi can do at his age is a great testament to the health benefits of training in the Chinese Martial Arts. He is truly a great performer, not counting the fact that he is probably one of the greatest modern day masters of our time.
Chan Sau Chung - As I was hanging out watching a masters demo with my Sifu and Simo, Simo Fong pointed out Chan Sau Chung. Sifu Fong proceeded to explain that Chan Sau Chung's Monkey Style was so good that he was known as the Monkey King from Hong Kong. At that time we were told he was around eighty-years-old but he moved like a young man and still had much of the black in his hair. We also got to watch his son perform after him.
A very impressive demonstration to say the least.
Jinheng Li - I was lucky enough to witness Jinheng Li perform with some of his students in Tucson in the early 90's at a Demonstration that the Fongs organized. Jinheng Li is where my Drunken Style form comes from. He was a senior coach of the Beijing Wushu team (an older Gung Fu brother to Jet Li), before he defected to the U.S.. Years before I learned Drunken Style, Sifu Fong learned the form from Jinheng Li up in Pheonix, AZ.. He eventually taught the form to me.
Sal Tallbear - This is a picture of Sifu Tallbear in the early 70's. He is standing to the far right and the third person over is Mohamed Ali.
The stories go that people like Elvis Presley and Mohamed Ali would have Sifu Tallbear bodyguard for them when they would come into Vegas. I met Sifu Tallbear in Tucson during a Seminar at Sifu Frank Bruno's School in 1992 (the picture below shows Sifu Mike Francis to the far left, Sifu Tallbear to the far right and myself to the left of Sifu Tallbear at Sifu Frank's School). We spent about 8 hours training with him that day. I met up with Sifu Tallbear again at a competition in Las Vegas not long after the Tucson seminar. Sifu Tallbear was very well known on the West Coast. He won the "40 years and over" competitions many years in a row at Ed Parker's International Tournament in Long Beach, Ca. From my understanding he was highly respected by Ed Parker, Chuck Norris, Steven Segal and many others.
Chuck Norris - This is a picture I took of Chuck Norris at a competition I attended in Las Vegas in the early 90's. He was at the competition to promote the program he was introducing into High Schools nation wide.
Written by Sifu Christopher ScottBack to Main Page